I'm excited about 2009 - I think it's going to be a great year. That's because I am on a different economy.
I believe there are two economies at work in our country. One is the economy that you read about in the papers and hear on the news everyday - even on conservative talk shows. It is the economy of gloom and doom, of catastrophe, of bankruptcies and bailouts and billion dollar loans and trillion dollar debts. It is 7.6% unemployment (10.6% in Michigan) and millions of job losses.
The other economy is the one where the other 90% of people work for companies who may not be doing what they did in the nineties, but they're still providing a wide range of goods and services to those of us who use them. Locally speaking, it's the Meijer's and Kroger's of the world, the Spartan Motors and Demmer Corporation's, the C2AE's (an engineering and architecture firm) and the O'Leary Paint Company's that, despite all the dour predictions, are doing really quite well.
My wife and I were quite taken aback as we listened to Governor Granholm's State of the State address recently. If anyone has cause to be negative and grim, it is Governor Jennifer Granholm who, as leader of the State of Michigan, by and large bears the responsibility for its undesirable economic condition. Yet Governor Granholm was anything but grim; on the contrary, she was upbeat, positive - even somewhat excited. Why? Because she was not focused on all the bad news, but the good. While acknowledging that there would have to be more budget cuts (which are not necessarily bad), she cited case after case of new companies coming into Michigan, others expanding, still others venturing into new territory. I got the sense that Michigan is on a roll; that we're moving forward, and that good things lie just ahead. I actually felt good after listening to her - and I am not even a democrat!
I belong to a local networking group, and the leader of that group happens to be in a position where he has inside information as to what the job climate in Michigan is really like. And, according to him, there are tens of thousands of jobs in Michigan just waiting for qualified people to fill them. Maybe it's not so bad after all.
My point is this: notwithstanding that these are indeed uncertain times, and many people have been negatively affected, still there is every reason to be hopeful, to believe the best about the future. It is certainly not a time to sit back and wait for opportunity to come knocking, or to expect old business models to work. But neither is it time to lay down and die - figuratively speaking.
The two economies I speak of are, on the one hand, one of gloom and doom; and on the other hand, one of positive expectation. The reason I am excited about this year has to do with the latter.